April 8 2015 – Pink Floyd fans rejoice for once again we have another installment of Brit Floyd in Toronto!
In the same way that an elegantly peaty single malt scotch has a refined yet robust nose, pallet and finish, so does Brit Floyd declare they are a worthy and definitive presence. The ultimately unmatchable Pink Floyd tribute band, in the midst of their 2015 world tour, made a stop in Toronto, Canada on Tuesday, March 31, 2015 performing to a sold-out crowd at the Sony Centre For The Performing Arts. The band kicked off the show with Speak To Me transitioning into Breathe from 1973’s Dark Side Of The Moon. The audience was in the palm of Brit Floyd’s hand from the get-go and the concert flowed on into the night like an endless river. The band played songs spanning Pink Floyd’s entire career, going as far back as See Emily Play and Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun. More recent offerings included Keep Talking, On The Turning Away and Louder Than Words (from the brand new Endless River album!). The encore was more of a grande finale really, covering the entire fourth album side of 1979’s The Wall.
Brit Floyd’s Toronto performance was chock-full of special moments and memorable musical montages. The three frontmen Bobby Harrison (guitar/vocals), Ian Cattell (bass guitar/vocals) and musical director Damian Darlington (guitar/vocals) were playing as if they somehow channelled the very frequency Pink Floyd used to proudly garner. The room was electric in the Sony Centre that night. Cattel even made a number of costume changes to tastefully embellish songs like Comfortably Numb, Run Like Hell and all of The Wall side four. Drummer Arran Ahmun played with pristine precision throughout the night, shining bright especially on the introduction drum feature in Time. For me there were two absolute show stoppers, backing vocalist Ola Bienkowska and multi-instrumentalist Carl Brunsdon.
Bienkowska’s time to shine came on the definitive classic Great Gig In The Sky during the band’s first set. She was able to invoke such a presence that left the whole room boisterously clapping and cheering for more. Mr. Brunsdon on the other hand was the overall standout member of the group. Over the course of the evening he played soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones, bass guitar and a vast array or multi-percussion ranging from shakers and jingles to hand drums, cymbals, and chimes. Other backing vocalists Jacquie Williams and Angela Cervantes had a chance to showcase their impressive range and exceptional feel on a number of pieces. Rob Stringer (keyboards/vocals) seemed to have every single synthesizer sound effect down to a tee which really helped transport the listener to another world beyond the theatre. Perhaps my favourite part of the concert came at the end of Money when the entire band went into an extended jam/guitar solo showcase. It was more-or-less a jam, but all the while the band was careful to build up to an incredible climax, the peak of which gave a satisfying shivery feeling of triumphant musical cohesion.
The musicianship of Darlington and the rest of the Brit Floyd ensemble was thoroughly exceptional throughout the night. There were so many times where I thought “Wow! This is too good. Surely they cannot outdo themselves again before the show is over,” but of course they did. Time and time again I was taken back, floored and utterly impressed by Brit Floyd’s uncanny knack for nearly seamless duplication of one of rock and roll’s greatest groups of all time. All of the evening’s performers were extremely on point, but what really topped it all off was the intrinsic aural and visual presentation by the sound engineer and effects crew. Without just the right tweaks of all the right knobs the show would not have translated as good as it did. Sonically, the show shone on like a crazy diamond. Without the trippy visual effects on the double screen backdrop, incredible synchronized light and laser show and of course a suspended, floating inflatable pig with bright, blinking eyes, the concert would not nearly have made the same awe-inspiring impact. It was the overall presentation of such a neatly put together package that had Brit Floyd truly embody their progressive rock and roll idols.
Of special note Jeff Woods from The Legends of Classic Rock (a syndicated radio show which plays on Q107 here in Toronto) gave a special multimedia presentation at the venue before the show and dazzled audiences with stories of Pink Floyd and exclusive interview snippets. Hearing how he spent time at David Gilmour’s Astoria Boathouse was a remarkable experience. We really like these presentations discussing the history of rock before shows and encourage the Sony Center to keep up the traditions! More Jeff Woods please!!!
Verdict 5 out of 5 – If you are a fan of Pink Floyd you would be wise to attend this amazing concert so that you can take in all that Brit Floyd brings to the table. It will be captivating beyond a shadow of a doubt, but more so, it will be a night to remember.
We leave you some images from March 31st 2015 at Toronto’s Sony Centre for the Performing Arts. Our 5th Brit Floyd review is now complete ;-) The band was most recently here last April and you can read that Brit Floyd Toronto review here.